O'Hair, Stricker QBE seize shootout lead


Miami (AFP)

Sean O'Hair and Steve Stricker birdied seven of their first eight holes as they combined for a 15-under 57 on Friday and the first-round lead in the QBE Shootout.

They were one stroke in front of Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele, who combined for a 58 in the scramble format, with Bubba Watson and Brandt Snedeker shooting a 59.

Lexi Thompson, the only LPGA player in the field for the unofficial event that features 12 two-player teams, played from the back tees with her male counterparts and teamed with Tony Finau for a 63 that left them tied for ninth with defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English and the team of Russell Henley and Kyle Stanley.

Thompson's participation in the event, founded by Greg Norman, marks the third time that a woman has taken part.

This year's field at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, includes 11 players who won on the PGA Tour last year.

Round two will feature a modified alternate shot format before the tournament concludes on Sunday with a better ball round.

O'Hair and Stricker -- both previous winners with different partners -- were quick out of the blocks with birdies at the first five holes. They added birdies at seven and eight before picking up six birdies and an eagle at the par-five 17th coming in.

"We had a lot of offense today," said Stricker, who played tribute to O'Hair's distance even as O'Hair credited Stricker's putting.

"Steve is just automatic from 15 feet and in," O'Hair said. "It was just a matter of getting it somewhat close ... it's pretty easy when you have a partner that putts like that."